Dakar is a very popular racing discipline. It has been going for a really long time and is a test of the reliability of the vehicle. So it has been surprising that no development team have attempted to create a game of the prestigious event since the last one in 2001. So Bigmoon Entertainment has decided to take up the challenge and release Dakar 18, and have decided to make it a realistic simulation. So let us take a look and see how this ambitious title shaped up.
Developer: Bigmoon Entertainment
Publisher: Deep Silver
Release Date: 25 September 2018
Thanks to the publishers for the review code.
Bigmoon Entertainment have decided to make Dakar 18 an open-world racing game. This is quite an ambitious move as everyone knows that the event is set in a desert. With 14 stages and travelling through countries like Peru and Bolivia, recreating these perfectly will be a massive task. Unfortunately while the terrain looks good using the Unreal Engine might not have been the best idea as it does seem to struggle to keep up with the gameplay.
Dakar 18 is trying to keep it authentic. So rather than like in most racing games you get waypoint markers and GPS, you only got your in-game roadbook, co-pilot and compass which you must use to navigate the 14 stages which can be quite tricky. The handling and physics are not very great in this game and is one of the major let downs. Another thing the developers forgot to take into account is the learning curve and difficulty level. The beginners will find this nearly impossible to play.
Bigmoon have managed to get hold of all the licences. This is the games strongest point as you got everything recreated down to the littlest details. The stages are very highly detailed thanks to using top-down photos to bring the stages to life. You will also find that each stage can last for an hour or two, so this means that you must keep focused and it will challenge your stamina. There are even the official sponsors, livery and drivers and co-pilots.
Another touch that sets this apart is the ability to dig your vehicle out if you get it stuck in a muddy area. You get out the vehicle and shovel yourself out. You can even stop and help fellow drivers and dig them out of trouble. You good deeds don’t go unnoticed and for everyone you help you will gain Dakar Points (DP). These allow you to repair your car. When you end tackles all the dunes and other hazards so be careful as you will lose precious time in repairs.
The visuals are stunning and the stages are very authentic. Yes there are issues with the fact that the Unreal Engine was used, but for the most part they are great. The sounds are pretty realistic with the engines and other sounds in the environment. And you get the co-pilot voice that gives you instructions on where you are going and adds the realism to the game.
Dakar 18 is a great simulation. It has the proper licences and the stages are recreated accurately. The game does have a few issues like beginners won’t be able to pick up and play and the handling of the vehicles are very unpredictable so makes it hard to control and make up times. For the developers first racing game they have took on an ambitious project and sadly just misses the mark a fraction. A game worth checking out but don’t expect anything fantastic.